Japan's biggest mobile carrier announces Siri competitor, 'Shabette Concier'

Summary:NTT Docomo, Japan's biggest mobile carrier, has announced a Siri competitor called 'Shabette Concier' shortly after Siri's Japanese language support was revealed.

NTT Docomo, Japan's only major carrier that doesn't offer the Apple iPhone, has announced its very own Siri-like voice activated concierge.

Titled 'Shabette Concier', the Japanese language only application is set for launch on the March 1st. It will be available for smartphones with Android 2.2 or higher.

Apple let slip plans to release their own Japanese language support for Siri just last week. This newly announced app seems to be designed to even the playing field.

With such an imminent release date, it also looks like Docomo will beat Apple to the punch.

In a press release, Docomo described their new app as "an advanced voice-activated user interface that enables customers to intuitively and directly operate services and smartphone features with voice commands."

They also describe aspects of the application that are somewhat different to Siri, such as the ways in which the 'Shabette Concier' responds to questions.

"The app analyzes the inquiry and then provides an answer using information mined from leading content providers such as Wikipedia."

The app will process inquiries via Docomo's cloud services. The press release states this will assure "speed and accuracy regardless of the smartphone's specs."

Although there were rumours that NTT Docomo had finally brokered a deal with Apple over the iPhone at the end of last year, they were denied by the company.

Talks between the two companies were said to have hit a standstill over Apple's restrictions on pre-installed software.

Despite this, rumours persisted over NTT Docomo's plans to roll out its LTE infrastructure. They suggested that the carrier would be debuting Apple's next generation of LTE enabled devices in 2012. However, those rumours were never confirmed.

NTT Docomo is Japan's biggest mobile carrier, and major rivals KDDI and Softbank both carry the iPhone, which has garnered them some success.

Considering that Siri has been a major unique selling point for the iPhone 4S, creating a rival application like this is a strong indicator that NTT Docomo won't be offering the iPhone any time soon.

Image source: 9to5Mac.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple

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